Picks and Pans Review: The Big One: the Great Los Angeles Earthquake

updated 11/12/1990 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 11/12/1990 AT 01:00 AM EST

NBC (Sun., Nov. 11, 9 P.M. ET)


What a disaster! No, not the quake. I mean this solemn, incredibly overblown miniseries. If bad TV is hell, then the devil himself must have shepherded this project through turnaround.

It shows what a self-obsessed, clannish company town Hollywood is. Only people in $8 million houses sitting precariously on stilts could conceivably find the subject matter so raptly fascinating. Even Malibuans, though, may not be willing to sit through hours of absolute tedium before something remotely resembling action occurs. There isn't a whole lot of shakin' going on until the mini concludes Monday night.

While a large cast (Richard Masur, Joe Spano. Lindsay Frost, Ed Begley Jr.) is wasted, Joanna Kerns does a decent job with the thankless lead as a seismic specialist who believes there's a gigantic demon underneath the earth. (What'd I tell you about Hollywood?)

The special effects, once they finally happen, aren't bad by TV standards. And as far as cities in rubble go, well, on L.A. it looks good. Suggestion: Appoint a designated watcher and have him wake up everyone else in the room when the quake hits.

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